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To: jmiller099 who wrote (1300)3/7/2012 6:45:56 PM
From: sylvester80
   of 1640
 
OT: Any of the ASUS Transformer line can use those... the new Infinity with the Chrome browser and the keyboard dock is awesome....

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To: Eric L who wrote (1299)3/7/2012 6:55:12 PM
From: sylvester80
   of 1640
 
4x more pixels to move over the iPad2's dual core A5. Can't wait for Anand's fps benchmarks. The main difference of the A5X is the 4-core GPU while still has the same dual core CPU as the A5. So it is twice as fast in graphics but has to move 4x the pixels. It would be interesting to see native resolution benchmarks between the iPad2 and the new iPad. I would guess that the iPad2 will do more fps...

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From: sylvester803/9/2012 8:12:32 AM
1 Recommendation   of 1640
 
Nokia submits yearly SEC report, details €1.4b loss and Windows Phone risks
By Zachary Lutz posted Mar 8th 2012 11:58PM
engadget.com

Nokia submitted its annual report (Form 20-F) to the SEC today, and -- as required of all publicly traded companies -- the information provided a candid overview of its financial health and market risks. Based on its quarterly reports, we've already known it was a rather bleak year for the Finnish outfit, which saw a €1.4b annual loss compared to €1.3b in profit just one year ago. Further, its net sales similarly took it on the chin, which amounted to €38.6b in 2011 versus €42.4b in the previous year. In terms of units sold, Nokia pushed out 339.8m feature phones during the year -- a three percent decline from the 349.2m units sold during 2010. The company attributed the drop to its aggressively priced competitors, as well as its lack of a dual-SIM handset for the first half of the year. Nokia's smartphone segment took an even harder hit, which fell to 77.3m units sold -- a 25 percent drop from the 103.6m devices shipped just one year ago. Once again, the company cites its aggressive competition as the primary factor for the decline, along with a waning interest in the Symbian platform.

In its discussion of potential threats to the company's bottom-line, Nokia provides a rather forthright assessment that accurately pegs its future success in the smartphone marketplace upon the acceptance of Windows Phone among developers and consumers. Likewise, its projections to sell 150 million Symbian units is failing to materialize -- big shocker there -- and Nokia now expects demand for its homegrown platform to continue deteriorating. Nonetheless, it remains stalwart in the commitment to support Symbian through 2016 -- though surprisingly, no comment on how this in itself could be a disaster to the company's bottom-line. Should Nokia's smartphone effort fail, that leaves it with the Series 40 feature phone segment, which it characterizes as a low-margin business that may see its demand erode as smartphones reach even lower price points. Nobody ever said that the mobile industry was a bed of roses, but if you'd like to view the world through Nokia's eyes, you're certain to find its commentary (pages 13 - 47 of the source document) an interesting read.

The Next Web
Nokia's Form 20-F (PDF)

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From: Eric L3/12/2012 10:24:29 AM
   of 1640
 
Nokia Windows 8 WoA Tablet Speculation ...

Message 28005962

- Eric -

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From: Eric L3/14/2012 8:55:59 AM
1 Recommendation   of 1640
 
AAWP Interviews Microsoft's Aaron Woodman ...

... Director for Windows Phone.

>> Microsoft's Aaron Woodman on reduced specs, China entry and more

Rafe Blandford
All About Windows Phone
March 13th 2012

allaboutwindowsphone.com

At Mobile World Congress a few weeks ago, Rafe sat down with Aaron Woodman, Director for Windows Phone at Microsoft, to talk about Windows Phone 7.5's new reduced hardware requirements, the entry into new countries (most notably China), the partnership with Nokia and future directions for the platform, and a potential direction for Microsoft's Windows Phone marketing.

This interview took place just after the announcement of the new reduced hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7.5 and the related announcements of the Nokia Lumia 610 and ZTE Orbit.

Q: What should we be calling Windows Phone 7.5 with the new lower specifications?

You can think of it as an optimisation or a refresh. I've called it a refresh, but that's not an official title. The end result is Windows Phone 7.5.

Q: What's the focus?

The two things we're really focused on are really around processor and memory footprint. And then there's been some incredibly good choices, that Nokia has made, to reduce the total BOM [bill of materials]. Essentially, what we did was to take 7.5 and made it work more efficiently on the 7x27 processor and 256MB of RAM.

Q: Looking at the Nokia Lumia 610, it's hard to see any difference in the way it runs the basic Windows Phone experience.

Right. I have an enormous amount of pride over that. We do have some incredibly good developers and it is to their credit. I push on our three leaders of Henry, Darren and Joe. Essentially they sat down and looked really hard around where the resources were.

The browser [is a good example], today our browser is built by the IE team, but we do optimisations to make it work well in a restricted, limited resource environment. On a desktop you just load the page, and with broadband speeds you can't care less about that. But in the phone, you don't have that choice and we've hired developers that have that passion for being efficient and asked them to do more.

There are some limitations as result. The biggest one that I think people will notice is background agents, which is a function of memory. It's actually something that the OS is still capable of, but it is a function of having a good experience and leaving memory room for applications. We still support over the air service driven agents - Live Tiles still work.

Q: And Background Audio?

Absolutely works. I have to tell you though, that one was at risk. It's a difficult one to implement because when you are running a codec that is significant.

Q: The limitations mean some third party applications (using background agents or a big memory footprint) will not work on lower specification devices. What's the plan to help mitigate this?

The first thing is we're going to make it really seamless for consumers, so they don't run into frustrations.

We are proactively reaching out to developers, communicating why we're doing this, giving them tools to help them, and providing tutorials to help them think about how they could manage memory differently. In a few isolated cases, we've worked actively with the ISV to get them over the hump. And so we really feel like it is edge cases at the moment. And then it is up to the developer.

Q: Are you looking at Marketplace stats to identify the popular apps to work with?

Yes. You're right, that's where we got the list to work out who to communicate with.

Q: And was the priority on paid apps?

We did not use 'paid app' as a criteria. We used downloaded apps and iconic brand apps as the criteria. When it comes to this type of things we have an internal mantra that the end user is king and there is nothing that should get in the way of this. At the end of the day, our long term success will be a direct derivative of end users. So when it comes to tough decisions like this we try to get to criteria that we think is meaningful for customers and accept some of the wash that comes out in terms of business impact.

Q: Do the efficiencies introduced by supporting the new lower specifications have a benefit for existing devices?

It actually doesn't. The way we manage these efficiencies, more than anything else, is through really aggressive memory management and those type of things.

Q: So it's tuning the settings in terms of what is being kept open in the background, tombstoning etc.

That's right. And so there's no noticeable difference. It is the same as not seeing the difference on the lower specification processor. I think it would be almost impossible for an end user to hold these up, side by side, and know a difference. And the amount of pride we feel in that.. is quite high.

Q: With these new devices, Windows Phone will be going into new markets. What does that involve?

Going into a market requires a number of things. There are government requirements and that requires work. The other thing is getting a set of competitive services. So one of the things we have announced is Marketplace expansion - adding 28 countries, 5 already, and 23 over the coming months.

And then we can talk about relationships. In some countries, it is super important to work with the mobile operator. If you look at India, there's so little operator influence it's almost ridiculous. Almost all of the markets break down into an operator controlled distribution or an OEM distribution. The one exception is China where it is monumentally important to get the endorsement of the mobile operator, yet almost all of the devices go through an unlocked, sometimes black market, distribution vehicle. And each of the operators is very different it terms of its network support requirements and the government has strict enforcement policies. So China is this unique beast. It is not an easy beast to get right?

Q: And is Nokia important in getting you into this market?

Yes. I would argue that we would not be in China for another year or two, if it were not for Nokia stepping up and taking the leadership within that country. And so it is a wonderful illustration of the assets that they bring to us. Both applying pressure for us to do the work to get into China in low cost devices and make distribution a success there. They also have an incredibly strong brand in China and so that's a value for us.

Q: At MWC, we've seen Nokia demonstrate their imaging leadership with the Nokia 808 PureView. They've said PureView is a technology that will be used in future devices [without specifically mentioning names or platforms]. You must see Nokia doing that and think it is going to be great for us when it happens.

I will tell you that I think Nokia is willing and is capable of delivering hardware innovation on Windows Phone and that is critical to their and our sucess.

Q: And is that baked into the strategy in terms of how things move forward?

The end result is that Nokia sits in on, and participates in, the definition of our products. It is not just engineering requests post product definition. That partnership is true at almost every level. I literally have a partner, Illari [Nurmi] at Nokia, and we have debates over positioning, target audience, market strategy... and we have those conversations on a regular basis. And that's true even when we start thinking about, dreaming what the next version is.

And I believe it is in our best interest.. and Joe [Belfiore], Henry [Sanders], John, Terry [Myerson] would say the same... that there is a strong vested interest in tying hardware and software innovation together because it's more defendable in the marketplace. So we are prioritising those aspects and I think there is a strong correlation between how well Nokia does and how well Windows Phone does and the partnership is motivated by the fact they have those strengths.

So the answer is yes. We are working on bringing hardware innovation to Windows Phone.

Q: And it's hard to do because you do have to think ahead of time?

It's been educational for Microsoft. The schedules are different. Hardware innovations can sometimes take three to five years to not only invent, but also bring to mass manufacture.

We have a joke internally that when someone says, 'can you do this', we'll say 'it's only software'. There is this mentality. But there is real physics behind the hardware...

... and that's where Nokia expertise comes in? The complimentary partnership...

Yes, that's absolutely true. The engineering effort around the 7.5 refresh is based around direct input from Nokia... that's just true.

Q: Is this a change from the [development] of the first version of Windows Phone?

There are two changes. First there is no hedge with Nokia. There is this recognition that when they give us advice or put tension in the system it is not based on any nefarious plan. The fact they put tension into the system at all is based on need. We just haven't experienced the same level of commitment, so that's a change. We have a good relationship with Samsung and HTC, but it is just not the same.

The second thing that has changed is the maturity of the platform itself. It is easy to look at the restraints we did initially, but the more restraints you draw around in certain areas, the more you can engineer in others. And we're getting to the point where we have greater maturity in the product itself and greater maturity in having a competitive product compared to our peers. So it frees up more time and greater flexibility to re-evaluate certain things. We didn't have that luxury when we first brought the product to market.

We continue to confine hardware changes to make sure that developers have a consistent platform, but we also have greater flexibility now. We had to build the foundation and it took time.

Q: What are the themes going forward for Marketing?

I'll be really direct. We haven't figured it out yet. We've tried working with operators, we've tried aggressively working with OEMs and now we're resolved to the idea that we are going to have to do it ourselves. It is not a function of whether we are capable of doing the marketing, but it is a difference of what they market and when they choose to market.

OEMs choose to market, and I'll put Nokia aside here for a second, but generally device manufacturers tend to be very descriptive and specific on the device itself. And that doesn't drive broad category understanding or demand for the platform or category. Familiarity with the operating system features or differentiators just don't come through.

So, to me, it's a statement that says we haven't cracked it yet. And I think, in order to crack it, we are going to have to spend aggressively from Microsoft directly. My bet, that is where we go, but we have not made the final decisions yet.

The second thing is we have to get aggressive. We have been very 'soft love' and very kind in our descriptions, and brand orientated. We do not have to be mean, but we need to start picking a fight, and that's what we're going to do. But which fight? We have had a lot of debate over this... 'our product is more beautiful, our product is easier...', but the challenge with those is they're subjective in nature... so by landing on speed as a key differentiator, it becomes demonstrable. So we have this intent to redefine making speed practical... not chipsets, bus speeds and memory speeds, not about specs... but what a human tries to do on a phone, how long it takes. And it really is something that is expressed in bringing this user interface and design metaphor to Windows Phone.

The question then becomes how do we find ways to communicate that? And that's still being worked through. Though #smokedbywindowphone is an example of it.

Actually we had a huge controversy internally about whether we should do 'smokedby' at MWC. There's a couple of reasons why it's a challenge - you're in front of people who are fundamentally experts at mobile, they're entrenched in the competitor's piece and they know it inside out and a lot of times they are going to bring hardware and software solutions that aren't even available yet to consumers. And we let the customer pick the challenge.

But we win almost every time, so it is this wonderful organic process that says we believe in the product... and the ones we lose are so freaking close. ###

- Eric -

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From: Eric L3/19/2012 2:00:11 PM
   of 1640
 
Windows Phone Marketplace Expansion and Content Growth ...

Windows Phone Marketplace is expanding its geographic reach significantly. It originally launched in late 2010 in just 17 countries:

• Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States.

In 2011 it became available in 18 additional countries:

• Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan.

In Q1 2012 availability in 5 countries were added:

• Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru and the Philippines.

In late February Microsoft announced that in the coming month 23 new country markets would be added ...

• Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.

... a near 60% increase the total addressable market for Windows Phone. Windows Marketplace now has customer storefronts in 63 countries. Windows Phone Marketplace App Hub will be ready for developers to start submitting apps to the 23 new markets in the next week or two,

>> Windows Phone Marketplace unofficially has over 70,000 available apps

Ian Hardy
MobileSyrup Mobile News fo Canadiens
March 19, 2012

mobilesyrup.com





Mobile manufacturers use various measurements to promote the success of their own app store over another. Apple’s App Store has over 585,000 available apps and recently crossed over the 25 billion app downloadeds. Google Android Market Play Store has surpassed the 450,000 available app mark, and RIM’s BlackBerry App World has over 60,000 available apps with over 174 million apps downloaded every month.

Windows Phone is gaining steam. After being quiet in Canada for about a year we’re just now seeing more WP7 device launch: Nokia Lumia 710, 800, 900 and the HTC Radar. The Windows Phone Marketplace is slowly gaining in popularity. They recently announced 50,000 available apps late December, then late February jumped to 65,000 apps. Now third-party figures are reporting the Marketplace has eclipsed the 70,000 available app milestone, making them takeover RIM for 3rd spot.

Windows Phone App List has a running breakdown of the Windows Marketplace. They state that there’s currently 71,173 available apps, with 47,857 (73%) being free apps, 8,031 paid (12%), and 10,075 (15%) on a trial model. In addition, there’s currently 18,283 approved developers.




- Eric -

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From: Margin of Safety3/22/2012 9:14:22 AM
   of 1640
 
Prem Watsa / The Warren Buffett of Canada sees intrinsic value in RIM

What Does Prem Watsa See In RIM?
January 27, 2012

By David Berman

Prem Watsa now has a 5.12 per cent stake in Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM), valued at about $450 million as of Friday morning. That’s no small bet – and it looks even grander when you consider that RIM pays no dividend and has seen its share price slump more than 72 per cent over the past year.

Oh, and Mr. Watsa – through Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. – is pretty much alone in his enthusiasm for the stock right now. Certainly, analysts look like idle spectators by comparison: According to Bloomberg News, just six of them have “buy” recommendations on the stock, versus 35 “holds” and 13 “sells.”

This raises a key question: Just what does Mr. Watsa see in this stock?

RIM has long been acknowledged as a cheap stock when you look at its price relative to earnings. It trades at just 4-times estimated earnings and 3.8-times trailing earnings, which is well below the average of 15-times earnings for the S&P/TSX composite index.

That said, there’s no real mystery behind these numbers: Just about everyone agrees that RIM’s earnings are in trouble. In its last quarterly report, earnings slid to just 51 cents (U.S.) a share, down from $1.76 a share in the same quarter in the previous year. Indeed, those earnings were worse than those reported during the depths of the recession – when mass layoffs on Wall Street fed concerns that the market for BlackBerrys among business folks was in decline. Clearly, eroding market share has proved to be a bigger threat to RIM than an economic downturn.

Mr. Watsa, a famous value investor who is attracted to cheap and out-of-favour stocks, might instead focus on RIM’s book value, or value of a company if it were liquidated. Right now, RIM’s share price is below book value, implying that it is worth more dead than alive.

But again, there’s nothing here that Mr. Watsa can see that other investors (and analysts) cannot. He must see a turnaround opportunity or good chances for a sale of the company at a nice premium -- but the stock market suggests that the odds are stacked against him.

Therefore, investors thinking about following Mr. Watsa’s lead and buying RIM shares on the cheap have to ask themselves about Mr. Watsa’s track record for spotting ailing firms that can be righted.

By all accounts the man is a savvy investor – particularly when it comes to making big-picture calls on the economy and stock market. He knows a bubble when he sees one, and steered clear of the 1990s dot-com nonsense. He also steered Fairfax Financial through the U.S. housing bubble, warning of debt excesses and making bets that paid off during the stock market turbulence of 2008 and 2009.

But Mr. Watsa is not impervious to falling into the occasional value trap, or a stock that appears to be cheap but is actually a money-loser. Fairfax made big a bet on CanWest Global Communications Corp. in 2007 and later doubled-down on its investment when the stock got even cheaper; the company no longer exits. It also made a big bet on AbitibiBowater Inc., and remains its biggest shareholder – even as the company sought bankruptcy protection in 2009.

Let's hope Mr. Watsa learned something from those mistakes.

seekingalpha.com

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From: Eric L3/22/2012 6:51:00 PM
   of 1640
 
The China WinPhone Launch ...

>> Microsoft Launches Windows Phone in China

Rafe Blandford
All About Windows Phone
March 21st 2012

Microsoft held an event in Beijing today to formally mark the arrival of Windows Phone in China. Windows Phone was shown running a Chinese-language interface, with support for both simplified and traditional Chinese and it was announced there are now more than 2,000 Chinese language apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace.



Executives from China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile were at the event, suggesting a broad level of operator support, something that will be important if Windows Phone is to get traction in the Chinese market.

Reports from the launch, with additional details of the demos showcased, are available on the Chinese language sites WPDang.com and winp.cn winp.cn .

WPDang.com also reports that, as expected, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn integration has been removed from the accounts settings (and therefore the People Hub). Currently there are no local replacements, but Microsoft has, in the past, indicated a desire to support local social networks where possible. In the case of China the obvious candidates would be Weibo, Tencent and Renren. In addition Xbox Live is replaced by a simple listing of games installed from the Marketplace. However, if an international Windows Live ID is used the full Xbox Live experience is accessible.

Devices for China

As part of the launch HTC announced the HTC Eternity, a Chinese variant of the HTC TITAN. The device has a 4.7 inch screen, 1.5Ghz Snapdragon processor, 512MB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, 8 megapixel camera and a 1,600 mAh battery, all encased in a robust aluminum shell. The HTC Eternity goes on sale today as an unlocked handset.

ZTE showed off the ZTE Mimosa, a variant of the ZTE Orbit that was first seen at MWC 2012. It takes advantage of the recently announced lower specifications for Windows Phone 7.5. It has a 4 inch TFT screen, 800 Mhz Snapdragon processor, 256MB RAM, 4GB of internal memory and a 5 megapixel camera.

Nokia is planning to hold an event next week where it will reveal more details about its plans for Nokia with Windows Phone devices in China. Nokia is expected to announce Chinese market variants of the Lumia 800, Lumia 710 and Lumia 610. ###

>> AAWP Insight #18: China, Nokia Drive, SXSW

allaboutwindowsphone.com

In episode eighteen of the All About Windows Phone Insight Podcast,The AAWP team covers the details of Microsoft's launch event for Windows Phone in China. They also cover ...

• Nokia Drive 2.0 (adds full offline functionality and speed warning)

• Nokia Maps 1.3 (adds favourites and route sharing)

• Nokia Transport

• Creative Studio

Ewan Spence at SXSW sxsw.com in Austin Texas: thoughts on Samsung's presence, Windows Phone handsets in the wild (SXSW edition), waiting on the Lumia 900 ###

- Eric -

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From: Eric L3/27/2012 9:37:48 AM
   of 1640
 
Smartphone Launches at MWC 2012 ...

The data that Guy Daniels abstracts and comments on below is from Strategy Analytics' monthly SpecTRAX market insight series.

>> 42 smartphone Launches at This Year’s Mobile World Congress

Guy Daniels
TelecomTV One
27 March 2012

telecomtv.com

Detailed analysis of all the new smartphone launches at MWC 2012 shows 39 Android models, two Windows Phone 7 releases and one solitary Symbian device. Guy Daniels reports.

Research firm Strategy Analytics has produced a new report detailing the 42 new smartphone launches at this year’s Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. It forms part of its monthly SpecTRAX market insight series.

ZTE produced 13 of the models, followed by Samsung and LG each with 5 new smartphones. The other manufacturers were HTC, Huawei, Sony, Acer, Nokia, Panasonic, ViewSonic and Lava. Doro also released their first smartphone, the EasyPhone 740, a low specification Android device.

According to Strategy Analytics, the major smartphone trends of the show were an increasing focus on Android, multi-core processors, average screen sizes now above 4 inches, and early signs of 4G LTE support.

Android dominated the operating system market with 39 new smartphones, helped by the introduction of the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade (pre-installed on 23 of them). Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS 7 and 7.5 were to be found on only two handsets (disappointedly, the only manufacturer other than Nokia to announce a Windows Phone smartphone at the show was ZTE, and that was on the older OS7 Tango), and Symbian Belle was found on Nokia’s 808 Pureview (yes, the oddball with the 41MP camera).

In total, there were 5 quad-core smartphones announced at MWC this year, plus 16 dual-core smartphones. In other words, half the new devices featured multi-core processors. Seven new smartphones had so-called retina displays (i.e. resolutions greater than 300ppi), with the majority being 4.5 inches or more – as much as 5 inches in the case of LG, Panasonic and ViewSonic.

Moving on to LTE support, five new smartphones featured 4G – one each from HTC, LG, Huawei and two from ZTE.

Those were the upward trends. As for downward trends, the ZTE Kis was the only 2G smartphone announced at the event (even that was a surprise) and not a single new smartphone model featured a physical Qwerty keyboard. However, one of the stand-out manufacturers for Strategy Analytics was Huawei:

As an OEM Huawei bucked the trend with increased processor speed running hand-in-hand with quad core penetrance, display size and pixel density. Their sub- branded Ascend range, combines speed with dual and quad core processors. The result is calculated clock speeds of up to 4.5GHz in the Ascend D Quad XL, which surpasses even some newly announced tablets.

The research firm concludes that smartphones continue to get thinner, more powerful and more highly specified. As a result, component vendors are being challenged to create better displays, batteries and processors and fit them into ever-smaller spaces. ###

NFC

In related news, Berg Insight reports this week that shipments of NFC-enabled handsets reached 30 million units in 2011, representing a ten-fold increase on the previous year. There are now more than 40 NFC-enabled handset models available. The firm believes growth will continue at around 87 per cent annually to reach total NFC-enabled handset shipments of 700 million by 2016.

André Malm, senior analyst at Berg Insight, says that NFC is not just about mobile money transactions – it can be used for applications such as paring devices to establish Bluetooth or WLAN connections, information exchange and electronic ticketing:

“Even though it will take some time before the stakeholders agree on business models for payment networks, other use cases such as reading tags and easy pairing of devices may well be compelling enough for handset vendors to integrate NFC in mid- and high-end devices already today.”

Malm adds that the global rise in smartphone adoption is also driving higher take-up of other wireless connectivity technologies in handsets, including GPS, Bluetooth and WLAN – especially on low-end models and in featurephones, as these two segments start to merge. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1309)3/27/2012 10:49:36 AM
From: Jurgis Bekepuris
   of 1640
 
OT?

not a single new smartphone model featured a physical Qwerty keyboard

Totally sucks. No candidates for me to upgrade my E71... On screen keyboards are total crap.

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